And the countdown begins…

One week. That’s it.

One week from now I’ll be on a plane hating life because I’m no longer in France. I can’t even describe how I feel when I start to think about leaving this place. I know I’ve missed home at times throughout this trip but now I can’t even imagine leaving. I constantly tell my Momma not to make me come home because I just want to live here for the rest of my life. This has by far been the most amazing experience of my life and I’ve made so many ridiculously incredible memories that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. God has truly blessed me and I couldn’t be happier. Except for the fact that I have to go home…in one week. I really can’t believe it, but I know that one day soon I’ll be back.

I have so many new best friends now that I can’t imagine my life without and can’t begin to tell them how much I love them. My French family is a part of my life now too and I don’t want to ever leave them and I’m dreading saying goodbye.

This adventure has reinforced my confidence in my decision to move out to L.A. next summer because I know that if I can move halfway across the world to a completely different country with a foreign language, then I can definitely move halfway across the country with no problem. I have so many dreams to accomplish in my life and I’m blessed to be able to say that I’ve already begun to conquer them.

God is good.

Pigs and Gypsies

I knew coming over to France that I would get a lot of attention. My blonde hair makes me stick out like a sore thumb in this country. However, I never thought the attention would be this extreme.

I have to say that I’m already incredibly sick of a lot of people in this country. I’ve survived a pickpocketing experience, multiple stare downs and today I survived my first potential mugging. Yeah, that’s right. I said MUGGING.

I’ll start from the beginning. The first week in France, we were in Paris. I loved the city. Marvelous and beautiful. However, I had one little (BIG) incident that I believe has forever scarred me to the core. I was pickpocketed. Here I am minding my own business trying to get to L’Arc de Triomphe and the next thing I know, there’s some little gypsy girl up on me trying to get me to sign a blank sheet of paper. I realized something was up when she wouldn’t get off of me so I decided to check my pocket for my phone. Yeah, stupid me I left my phone in my jean jacket pocket instead of hiding it. Well, as I’m reaching into my pocket to make sure I still have my phone, she’s pulling her hand out of my pocket with my phone! Next thing I knew, she had my phone hidden under her clipboard that she was carrying and don’t ask me how, but somehow I knew where it was and I just snatched it right back out of her hand and turned away to get as far away from her as possible before I beat the living daylights out of her.

There’s my first horrible incident in France.

Then, today I had an incident with a man at the ATM. Stupid me (again), I think that I’m invincible and that nothing bad will happen to me. This entire trip thus far has proven that I’m indeed entirely incorrect in that state of mind. Everything bad that happens to someone over here always happens to me. Anyway, this is the story.

I leave lunch and everybody else to go to the ATM to withdraw some money because I’m getting low. The ATM was only a couple blocks away so I thought I’d be completely fine. I was wrong. As I’m putting in my PIN number, a man comes up behind me and starts to talk to me. He asks says hi and asks me how I’m doing and starts to ramble. I glance quickly at him and then away disgusted, but I probably shouldn’t have looked at him at all. Well, I’m still trying to withdraw money and he keeps talking to me. He starts to now talk in French and ask if I speak French. Again, I don’t answer and I don’t even acknowledge his presence. He still goes on trying to ask me why I’m not answering him and why I won’t say hi and trying to get me to talk to him and I’m assuming trying to distract me. Well by this point my heart is racing as fast as it can and I’m about to have a heart attack. Here I am, a little, blonde American girl trying to withdraw a large amount of money in a foreign country and there’s a huge man hovering over me, obviously trying to get something from me. As soon as the machine spits out my card, I snatch it up and when it gives me my money I grab on and hold for dear life so that this jerk can’t take anything from me. I rip my receipt out of the machine and speed walk away from him around the corner. He was still calling after me by the time I rounded the corner, but I’d gotten away from him and I was safe. Then, I realized my phone wasn’t in my back pocket. Frantically, I searched throughout my purse for it and started to panic. I swore I had (stupidly, again) left my phone in my back pocket and now it wasn’t there. I was sure that jerk had stolen my phone at this point. I started sprinting back to the restaurant, praying to God that I had miraculously left my phone on the table and forgotten to bring it with me. I reach the doors to the restaurant and search the table with my eyes before even getting to it. Yup, there it was. I’d left my phone on the table with all of my friends and everything was okay. I’d survived the potential mugging and he didn’t get away with anything. Having your guard up at all times really does pay off. I’ve learned not to trust anyone except the people you know in this country. By now I’m ALWAYS on alert for the next person who’s on the lookout to take something from me. And this isn’t even the last part of my story.

After a six hour train ride from Cannes back to Lyon, I’m exhausted. We all were. As all four of us eventually separate and go our separate ways to head home, Auburn and I are left alone in the metro station waiting for our bus to take us all the way home. It’s at this point that a huge, drunk man walks into the station and sits down on the bench next to us. As he walks in, he says something to us in French about asking how we’re doing. Of course, we ignore him. Next thing I know, he’s rambling on and on and Auburn and I both think he’s talking on a cell phone. Nope, we were wrong. Five minutes later, I feel something hit me. I look down and see that he had thrown at bottle cap at me and hit me. I look up speechless and in disbelief at Auburn as she screams, “EXCUSE YOU,” and he mumbles something about making us mad. We get up to get away from him and he starts to ramble and get upset about us leaving, which was pretty terrifying in itself. We walk around the corner and get away from him and I can’t help but almost burst into tears.

The way that men treat women over here is ridiculous. I’ve never felt so abused or targeted in my life. It’s honestly disgusting. And that means a lot coming from me. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good compliment and love flattery. So, if you have me disgusted and hating every man that I see around me, you know it’s a pretty big deal.

So, there you have it. Three weeks in France and I’ve already been through more than what most people go through in their entire lives. But I can say that I’ve survived all of it and it’s made me more cautious and taught me to never let my guard down. I love this country and I love this experience but the male mentality around here has me on edge.

Becoming Humbled

Happy thoughts of a humbled girl.

Well, I finally have a moment to myself to relax and think about things. Since summer began, I’ve been working full-time, doing a part-time internship and trying to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends. So far, all is successful; got my first paycheck today, I’m loving my internship and I’m currently sitting with my entire family watching Wall-E.. So, I’d say I’ve got it all covered. Life is good.

Recently, I’ve been so incredibly happy. It’s ridiculous. I can’t wipe the smile off my face and I love infecting those around me with happiness. It’s like nothing can get me down and I love it. Everything in my life is coming together and I’m enjoying every second. I’m preparing for my future in a way I’ve never done before by adding another major – theatre, which is my absolute passion that gives me so much joy and excitement when I’m involved in it, I’m always happy and trying to help those around me – I’m no longer judgmental or critical of those around me like so many girls in this world tend to be (and how I was earlier in life, sad to say) and I’m so much looking forward to what God has in store for me. Seriously, I get tingly and butterflies when I think about what He has planned for my life and what path He has laid before me. I want to live my life for Him to those around me and I hope that I positively impact those around me, showing them the amazing grace and love that He has for them. Gah, I’m just so happy.

My life is amazing right now. I’m moving toward my future and can’t wait to live my life for the Lord and expand on what He has planned for me. After I graduate from Mizzou, I plan to move out to L.A. to pursue my dream of becoming an actor. This isn’t just a dream, it’s a passion and life goal that I WILL accomplish. Nothing less is acceptable. God has so many amazing plans for me and I’m ready to get them started.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Purity in Music – Roy English

Recently, I discovered that one of my favorite bands from high school, Eye Alaska, broke up. I was a bit devastated, to be honest. But then I started researching a little more and realized that the lead singer went on to do his own thing on a solo project. Brandon Wronski, formerly the lead singer of Eye Alaska, is now doing his own thing and blowing minds as Roy English. At least, my mind is blown.

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At first, I was a little shocked. He now goes by a new name, changed his entire look and also changed the type of music he’s making. However, when I looked more deeply, I realized that I love this new project even more than Eye Alaska. His music as Roy English is purely beautiful. So open. His lyrics convey his entire life and all the pain and struggles he’s been through. It’s truly eye opening and that’s what it’s done for me. After listening to all of his music for every day, all day, I can safely say that I’m not only addicted, but I feel a connection.

Now, I usually don’t feel this way about musicians. Yes, music is a huge part of my life and it gets me through the days. But, Roy English has something even more than just pure lyrics and a wonderful sound flow.

As a strong Christian and child of God, I always think it’s incredibly amazing to find musicians that have a close relationship with the Lord. When listening to the new live, unplugged, unreleased song he posted a couple days ago, “As We Grow Older,” I realized he knows God. I was completely blown away. I was already a fan but this realization was breathtaking. I listened more and more to his songs and found that his faith is apparent in the majority of them. Then, I started following him on Twitter and saw that he shares his faith there as well. I think it’s incredible to find a musician in this world that has faith so inspirational. If I wasn’t already hooked, this did me in.

If you love what you do, work harder than your hardest, push yourself and believe that you can make a change, then you can. This is exactly what Roy English is doing.